Woburn Abbey Today

Your Guide to Woburn Abbey

Woburn Abbey first opened to the public in 1955 and has welcomed visitors from all over the globe. There are 22 rooms that you can experience, which house one of the most significant private art collections in the world.

As you explore the many individual rooms of Woburn Abbey, you will also discover 18th-century French and English furniture, magnificent silver and gold collections, in the underground vaults, and a marvellous range of porcelain and many privately collected items treasured by generations of the Russell family.

These captivating rooms and fascinating antiques show a personal side to a public family that has been instrumental in many significant periods of English history.  


Image for Woburn Abbey Today The 15th Duke and Duchess of Bedford

400 years of history

The Abbey has been the home of the Earls and Dukes of Bedford, one of England's most powerful families, since the 1620s. It is currently the home of the 15th Duke and Duchess of Bedford and their children. Russell family members have included Prime Ministers, Ambassadors, Lord High Admirals and philosophers over the centuries and provide a direct link to the events of the past that shaped the England of today. 

> Our Family Tree


Image for Woburn Abbey Today One of our views of Venice by Canaletto

Over 250 works of art

View one of the most outstanding collections of art works on public display. These include:

  • The largest private collection of Venetian views painted by Canaletto on public view
  • The Armada Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I
  • Artists such as Gainsborough, Rembrandt, Reynolds, and Van Dyck
  • Artworks by Queen Victoria and Richard Stone

> Art and the Collection


Image for Woburn Abbey Today The Grotto

22 Rooms To Discover

The splendid rooms include:

  • The unique Grotto which dates from the 1630s
  • The State Apartments with original 18th-century architecture
  • The Holland Library which is one of the largest private libraries with an extensive collection of natural history books
  • Underground vaults housing the family's gold and silver collection
  • The Chinese Room with its decorative wallpaper

> Must See Treasures


Image for Woburn Abbey Today Woburn Abbey is an example of Palladian architecture

At The Heart of an English Palladian Home

The Abbey has been at the centre of social and political history which includes tales of political reform, Royal State visits, imprisonment, beheading, grand tours, love affairs and more. Famous house guests have included monarchs, politicians, leading naturalists, famous designers, architects and adventurers. 

> Our Timeline


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Events & Exhibitions

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Oakley House Doll's House

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New for 2016, visitors to Woburn Abbey can now peek behind the curtains of a wonderful, historic doll’s house. Beautifully furnished and skilfully made by members of the Russell family at the beginning of the 20th century.
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Summer of Sports Trails

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Celebrate a 'Summer of Sport' with us at Woburn Abbey and Gardens. We have delved into our collections and archives, to create a series of interesting displays illustrating the Russell family and Woburn's close association with many different sports over the centuries.
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Bat Walks - Sold out

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Take an exclusive tour of the Woburn Abbey Gardens at night and learn about the nocturnal activities of the bats living in the gardens.
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Head Gardener's Guide

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Our Head Gardener will be on hand on selected dates throughout the year to provide free advice and tips on planting and propagation.
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Family Sundays: First weekend of every month

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Spend some quality family time in Woburn Abbey Gardens and let the children explore and get creative.
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Autumn Gardening Skills

This session is designed to give you a range of horticultural skills and enable you to get hands on with plant material to gain the confidence with your own garden maintenance. The perfect introduction if you are not sure where, when or how to get started in your own garden.
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tri for life triathlon

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tri for life presents The Woburn Abbey Triathlon. One of the UK’s most loved triathlons, it has become famed for its iconic venue and unrivalled family experience. Highlights of the event include stunning views of The Abbey and deer park, great event village and the closed road cycle route through the picturesque roads surrounding Woburn.
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Pruning Study Day

This session is designed to give you a wide range of pruning skills and enable you to get hands on with plant material to gain the confidence with your own garden maintenance.
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Vivaldi's Four Seasons by Candlelight

We are delighted to welcome the Altamira Chamber Orchestra to The Sculpture Gallery in the grounds of Woburn Abbey to perform Vivaldi's Four Seasons by Candlelight, directed by Mr Robert Atchison.
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Off Road Deer Park Tour

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Join the Deer Keepers for a 1.5 hour tour of the Woburn Abbey Deer Park where you will able to get up close to the beautiful deer.
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NSPCC Luxury Gift Fair

The NSPCC Luxury Gift Fair is an annual event and a highlight of the Woburn calendar. Browse over 50 stalls of inspiring gift ideas beautifully displayed in the Woburn Sculpture Gallery. All proceeds from the event tickets will go to the NSPCC.
Image for NSPCC Luxury Gift Fair Evening Champagne Reception

NSPCC Luxury Gift Fair Evening Champagne Reception

This exclusive Evening Champagne Reception will be hosted by Her Grace, The Duchess of Bedford. Browse over 50 stalls of inspiring gift ideas whilst enjoying a glass of Champagne and canapés. All proceeds from the event tickets will go to the NSPCC.
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The Woburn Estate Wedding Fair

Visit a wide variety of pop up wedding shops in the period Antique Quarter of Woburn Abbey's Sculpture Gallery.
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Christmas Flowers with Jonathan Moseley

A masterclass in Christmas flower-arranging with floral expert, Jonathon Moseley.
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A Touch of West End

Woburn's Sculpture Gallery is delighted to welcome back A Touch of West End this December for a fabulous evening of fine dining and musical entertainment.
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Woburn Abbey Garden Show 2017

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After the huge success of the 2016 Garden Show this June we are pleased to announce that tickets can now be purchased for the 8th Woburn Abbey Garden Show taking place on 24th and 25th June 2017. Set against the stunning backdrop of Woburn Abbey, ‘The Gardener’s Garden Show’ offers visitors the best location of any show in the UK, taking place within the 42 acres of Abbey Gardens.